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Bills Today: Anthony Lynn is the new sheriff

Posted Dec 31, 2016

John Murphy takes a look at how Interim Head Coach Anthony Lynn is focusing on the fine details of his new job, the chances of EJ Manuel's success in New York and the run game redeeming itself against the Jets.

It’s the final day of the year and the final walk through practice for the 2016 Buffalo Bills. They leave later today for the Meadowlands and the regular season finale against the Jets.

Here’s the Bills news of note for Saturday, December 31:

1. LYNN IS THE NEW SHERIFF

It’s a new role for Anthony Lynn in his 17th season as a coach if the NFL. The Bills interim head coach will run the show tomorrow—the whole show. And some Bills players say they’ve already seen evidence of Lynn’s focus on discipline and details.

“He’s done a great job of asserting himself and imprinting who he is,” veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander told The John Murphy Show yesterday. “There have already been some immediate changes on the discipline portion of it---calling guys out, letting guys know you’re not going to eat in the meeting rooms.  When we travel together he wants everybody in the (team -ssued) sweatsuit and don’t make your own variations on it.”

The Pro Bowl OLB acknowledges that an increased focus on discipline is unlikely to take hold after just five days on the job.

“No, you can’t fix it in one week,” Alexander says. “That’s something that has to become habit.  Obviously we have created some bad habits around here. You can start addressing it and changing it and making sure we’re focused on it and see some change. “

Alexander also thinks with Dennis Thurman in place as the lone signal caller on defense, Buffalo’s defense has a better chance of success.

“On the headsets, you can start having one guy do it versus three or four guys on the sidelines.  There are things you can start changing but I don’t know if it’s going to happen across the board all at once.”

2. BEST CASE SCENARIO TOMORROW – EJ STARTS AND FINISHES

EJ Manuel makes his first start since October 2015 tomorrow in the Meadowlands. It will be his 17th NFL start. And if things go as planned, Manuel will finish the game as well.

Rookie Cardale Jones will be active for the first time this season. Anthony Lynn has named him the Bills backup quarterback for Sunday’s game. But Lynn wants Manuel to start, have success, and finish tomorrow.

“It’s really hard to get a good look at two quarterbacks in one game,” Lynn said this week. “I want to get a really good look at EJ. So, if it’s a good game I’m going to leave EJ in and let him roll.” 

3. LEANING ON THE RUN GAME?

Everyone knows the Bills formula for moving the football this season—the run game. The NFL’s top rushing attack in 2015 is poised to repeat as rushing champions.

But it may not be so easy tomorrow. The Jets are the league’s 14th best rushing defense overall. And they only give up 3.8 yards per carry, fifth best in the NFL.

With Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Sheldon Richardson up front (all 1st round draft picks) the Bills offensive line will have its’ hands full. The failure of the run game back in week 2 was a big factor in Buffalo’s blowout loss to New York. The Bills only ran for 86 yards in that game; LeSean McCoy had 59 of them.

The Bills are 5-2 this year when Shady runs for 100-or-more yards; 2-5 when he runs for less than 100.

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